Bureau de change

A bureau de change is an organisation or facility which allows customers to exchange one currency for another. Although French in origin, the term is widely used throughout Europe, so that visitors can easily identify such facilities when abroad. It is also common to find a sign saying "Exchange".

Usage

"Bureaux de change" are often located inside banks or travel agents, as well as in international airports, train stations, etc. They make profit, and compete, by manipulating two variables: the exchange rate they use to calculate transactions, and an explicit commission for their service.

The exchange rates charged at public "bureaux" are generally related to the rates available to the banks themselves, adjusted to make a profit. A "bureau" will often display a board listing separate "We buy" and "We sell" rates for each currency they deal in; this allows them to "sell" a currency (e.g. a UK "bureau" converting sterling to euros) at a lower rate than they "buy" it (e.g. converting the euros back to sterling).

As an example, if the internationally traded rate on a particular day was 1.50 euros per pound, making £100 worth €150; a "bureau de change" might "sell" euros at a rate of 1.40 (so that £100 gets the customer only €140) and "buy" at 1.60 (so that it takes €160 to get £100); the difference makes the profit for the "bureau". Their round-turn profit on these trades would be €160 - €140 = €20, or 13.33%.

Commission is generally charged as a percentage of the amount to be exchanged, subject to a minimum fee for small transactions. Some "bureaux" advertise themselves as commission-free, and then make up the lost profit through the exchange rates they offer. As an additional complexity, some "bureaux" offer special deals on either commission or exchange for customers returning from holiday with leftover foreign currency bought at that bureau. Bureaux de change sometimes buy or sell coins of foreign currencies at a higher profit margin, due to the higher cost of storage and shipping compared with banknotes.

In general, changing money at a "bureau de change" before travelling is more expensive than withdrawing it using a foreign cash dispenser (through a system such as Cirrus Network) or paying directly with a debit or credit card, Fact|date=May 2007 although this varies depending on the bank/card issuer, and the type of account held.

In 2002 many "bureaux de change" reported substantial reductions in profit due to the replacement of many European currencies with the Euro.

In popular culture

The notable 1994 news parody "The Day Today" featured a spoof soap opera called "The Bureau", set in a "high class" bureau de change and run by soap-opera stereotypes (the arrogant boss, the gay man, etc.). In the programme, the soap supposedly replaced the BBC Nine O'Clock News, and then failed to attract large audiences leading to it being sent on tour on the back of a lorry. This was a reference to the failed BBC soap opera " Eldorado".

The folk-spoof group "Flight of the Conchords" makes an oblique reference to bureau de change in the song "Foux Da Fa Fa", in which one of the band members sings the line "Bonjour mon petit bureau de change" to one of the women in the park.

ee also

*Exchange rate
*Digital currency exchanger
*Continuous linked settlement
*Financial instruments
*Gold standard
*List of international trade topics
*Hyperbolic coordinates
*Table of historical exchange rates
*Currency Pair
*Foreign exchange market


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bureau De Change — Les bureaux de change sont des intermédiaires financiers dont le métier principal est le change manuel, c est à dire l échange d une devise contre une autre. Ce sont donc des commerçants négociant des billets de banque. En France, l activité de… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • bureau de change — [ˌbjʊərəʊ də ˈʆɒndʒ ǁ ˌbjʊroʊ də ˈʆɑːndʒ] noun bureaux de change PLURALFORM [countable] FINANCE ORGANIZATIONS an office where people can change foreign money into local currency or buy other currencies * * * bureau de change UK US // noun [C]… …   Financial and business terms

  • bureau de change — [ˌbjuərəu də ˈʃɔndʒ US ˌbjurou də ˈʃa:ndʒ] n plural bureaux de change [ rəu US rou ] BrE [Date: 1900 2000; : French; Origin: office of exchange ] a shop where you can change foreign money →↑exchange …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • bureau de change — ► NOUN (pl. bureaux de change pronunc. same) ▪ a place where one can exchange foreign money. ORIGIN French, office of exchange …   English terms dictionary

  • Bureau de change — Les bureaux de change sont des intermédiaires financiers dont le métier principal est le change manuel, c est à dire l échange immédiat d une devise contre une autre. Ce sont donc des commerçants négociant des billets de banque. En France, l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • bureau de change — UK [ˌbjʊərəʊ də ˈʃɒndʒ] / US [ˌbjʊroʊ də ˈʃɒndʒ] noun [countable] Word forms bureau de change : singular bureau de change plural bureaux de change UK [ˌbjʊərəʊz də ˈʃɒndʒ] / US [ˌbjʊroʊz də ˈʃɒndʒ] or bureaus de change a place where you can buy… …   English dictionary

  • bureau de change — [ˌbjʊərəʊ də ʃɒbureau de changeʒ] noun (plural bureaux de change pronunciation same) a place where one can exchange foreign money. Origin Fr., lit. office of exchange …   English new terms dictionary

  • bureau de change — bu|reau de change [ ,bjurou də ʃɒndʒ ] (plural bu|reaux de change [ ,bjurouz də ʃɒndʒ ] or bu|reaus de change) noun count a place where you can buy or sell foreign money …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • bureau de change — /byuu rddohdeu shahonnzh /, pl. bureaux de change /byuu rddohdeu shahonnzh /. French. an office where money can be exchanged. * * * …   Universalium

  • bureau de change — noun (C) French an office or shop where you can change foreign money …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English


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